Stretch marks are usually harmless and fade to a lighter color over time. However, some women find them distressing. It’s important to talk to a doctor about how you feel and explore your treatment options.
Some at-home treatments and prescription creams may help make early stretch marks less noticeable, but none of them can completely remove them.
Stretch marks are thin lines that form on the skin’s surface when it stretches or shrinks too rapidly. They are often red or purple at first but fade to a silvery white color over time. They can be found on the hips, thighs and arms, but are also common in the breast area. These lines appear after pregnancy, rapid weight gain or loss, puberty, hormone changes and certain health conditions.
One of the most common causes of stretch marks is a sudden growth spurt, which can occur during puberty for girls and boys alike. The hormonal changes during this time cause a lot of bodily development, including enlargement of the breast tissue. This can cause the skin in that area to stretch and develop these marks. Pregnancy can also trigger these marks, as it is a time of dramatic hormonal changes and rapid enlargement of the breasts in preparation for milk production.
Women who have had implants to increase the size of their boobs can also be prone to these marks, as it may cause rapid changes in the breasts and skin. Other causes of these marks are hereditary factors, Cushing’s syndrome (a condition that results in an overproduction of cortisol), and the use of certain medications that affect the body’s production of collagen. Rubbing ice on the breasts can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, but it’s best to prevent them by massaging and moisturizing the area regularly with hypoallergenic products like Mustela’s Stretch Mark Serum.
Stretch marks are narrow, streak-like lines that develop when the skin is thinned. They can be red, pink, white, or blue, depending on the skin color. They’re referred to medically as “striae” and can be classified based on their appearance, formation, and location.
Red stretch marks, or striae rubra, usually begin as pinky-red or reddish-purple. These marks are often more responsive to treatment because they have functioning blood vessels underneath. Over time, the color fades and become silvery-white or gray. Stretch marks are a common occurrence during pregnancy. They typically appear in the abdomen, breasts, thighs, hips, and buttocks.
Some people are more prone to getting stretch marks than others. They may be genetically predisposed, or have certain health conditions that lead to rapid weight gain or growth (like Cushing’s syndrome and Marfan and Ehlers-Danlos syndromes).
Generally, the earlier stretch marks are treated, the more effective the results will be. A dermatologist who specializes in cosmetic treatments may recommend laser therapy, microneedling, or other in-office procedures to treat existing stretch marks and prevent future ones from developing. They might also recommend a regimen of vitamin A and vitamin E creams, but not while pregnant or breastfeeding, as these are not safe for infants. These creams are a good option because they contain ingredients that help promote skin healing and regeneration.
A dermatologist can assess your situation and prescribe a course of treatment that may help lighten breast stretch marks. They will consider factors such as how old the marks are and your medical history. Some treatments include laser therapy, a chemical peel that may break up scar tissue and improve the appearance of the skin, microdermabrasion to reduce cell buildup and hydrate the skin, and other topical creams or ointments that may contain ingredients such as glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin, silicon to improve elasticity, and collagen to stimulate growth of new skin.
Most commonly, stretch marks are pinkish or purple in color when they first appear but gradually fade to a silvery-white appearance over time. There are two main types of stretch marks: striae distensae, which occur during puberty or pregnancy and look like stripes on the skin, and striae gravidarum, which happen during pregnancy when oestrogen levels increase and the breasts expand to prepare for milk production.
Breast stretch marks are unlikely to go away entirely but they can fade and become less noticeable with proper care. Massaging and moisturizing the area regularly can help keep your breasts soft and supple during times of change and may even prevent them from appearing in the first place. If you do end up with them, try not to stress or feel self-conscious. It’s a perfectly normal part of life.
As with most things in life, prevention is always better than cure. You can decrease your chances of developing breast stretch marks by eating a well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly. This will help boost the body’s needed nutrients to improve skin health and maintain a healthy weight.
It is also important to see a dermatologist if you notice new skin dimpling or puckering, as these may be signs of a more serious medical condition. If you are diagnosed with stretch marks, there are several treatment options available.
Home treatments and medical interventions work best when they are applied to new stretch marks, before they mature and turn white. This is because it’s easier to reduce the appearance of pink or red stretch marks than it is to remove mature ones.
Using products like Kin’s Nourishing Cream, which contains shea butter, gotu kola (a medicinal herb), witch hazel and niacinamide, can help prevent future marks. The combination of these ingredients encourages skin elasticity, which can reduce the likelihood of stretch mark formation.
Pregnancy-induced stretch marks appear during pregnancy due to rapid weight gain. They initially look pinkish or purplish in color and fade to a pale white over time. Some women are more likely to develop these than others, especially if they gained a lot of weight quickly or had a high BMI. Other causes of pregnancy stretch marks include genetic factors, hormonal changes (like Cushing’s syndrome) and rare conditions such as Ehlers-Danlos or Marfan syndrome (which affect the tissues that connect body parts).